Gulf of Aden Security Review

A regularly updated review of both Yemen and the Horn of Africa covering topics related to security, governance, and militant activity.

Yemen: Houthis reject Yemeni government proposal to resume flights from Sana’a airport; Presidential Leadership Council official warns of AQAP and IS-Yemen resurgence in southern Yemen; Houthis release Emirati ship following Omani mediation

Somalia: Al Shabaab assassinates two SNA officers; al Shabaab ambushes KDF forces in northeastern Kenya; tensions over parliamentary elections escalate in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief:

The Houthis rejected a Yemeni government (ROYG) proposal to resume flights from Sana’a airport on April 27. A ROYG official said the government presented the Houthis a plan to provide ROYG-recognized passports to citizens living in Houthi-controlled territory, allowing them to fly from Sana’a airport.[i] ROYG officials claimed on April 24 that the Houthis refused to allow travelers with ROYG passports to fly from Sana’a airport, which they blamed for the delay in resuming flights from Sana’a airport.[ii] Houthi officials said the group rejected the ROYG proposal because the Houthis do not recognize ROYG’s legitimacy and do not recognize ROYG-issued passports.[iii]

Presidential Leadership Council member and Southern Transitional Council president Aydarus al Zubaidi warned on April 27 that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State-Yemen will likely increase their activities in Abyan and Shabwah governorates, southern Yemen.[iv] AQAP has increased its kinetic activities in southern Yemen in recent months. However, Islamic State – Yemen largely remains dormant aside from issuing occasional statements.

The Houthis released the UAE-flagged cargo ship “Rawabi” on April 25.[v] The Houthis seized “Rawabi” off the coast of Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen, on January 3.[vi] Oman mediated between the Houthis and the UAE to secure the ship’s release.

Somalia Security Brief:

Al Shabaab assassinated two Somali National Army (SNA) officers in Dharkenley district, Mogadishu, on April 26.[vii]

Al Shabaab ambushed Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) forces IVO Hamey, Garissa County, northeastern Kenya, on April 27.[viii] Al Shabaab claimed they killed two soldiers.

Disputes between rival political camps over the election of parliamentary speakers escalated in Mogadishu on April 25. National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) agents clashed with Puntland State forces at the Mogadishu airport hotel on April 25.[ix] The agents tried to forcefully enter the swearing-in of 16 MPs controversially elected in Jubbaland State. Puntland State forces stopped the NISA agents in a shootout. Garowe Online claimed the NISA airport commander led the attack.[x] Somali police had forced the relocation of the swearing-in ceremony when they prevented the MPs from being sworn in at the Afisyoni tent earlier in the day, leading to allegations they were involved in the plot.[xi] Prime Minister Roble responded by asking the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) to take control of security at the Afisyoni tent on April 26, a day before elections for the lower house speaker.[xii] Police Chief Abdi Hassan Mohamed Hijar then suggested officials should postpone lower house speaker elections because he could not guarantee security, which opposition officials interpreted as an implicit threat.[xiii] Internal Security Minister Abdullahi Mohamed Nur suspended Hijar on April 27 before the elections for violating the constitution and obstructing parliamentary proceedings.[xiv]

[i] Al Hadath, “Government of Yemen: Houthi militia rejects options to facilitate the opening of Sana’a airport,” April 27, 2022,

[ii] Christopher Muth and Max Ryabinin, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 25, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 25, 2022,

[iii] Al Mashhad Al Yemeni, “Al Houthi militia announces its position on the government’s initiative regarding obtaining passports at Sana’a airport,” April 27, 2022,

[iv] Akhbar Yemen, “President al Zubaidi to the National: We want peace, but the option of war is on the table if the Houthis continue their intransigence,” April 27, 2022,

[v] Al Jazeera, “After her detention for 3 months, the Houthis released an Emirati ship with Omani mediation,” April 26, 2022,; Reuters, “Yemen's Houthis release crew of seized Emirati cargo vessel –spokesman,” April 25, 2022,

[vi] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 5, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 5, 2022,

[vii] Somalimemo, “Somalia: Government Troops Killed in Mogadishu,” April 26, 2022,

[viii] Calamada, “Various attacks in southern Somalia and NFD territory,” April 27, 2022,

[ix] Garowe Online, Twitter, April 25, 2022,

[x] Garowe Online, Twitter, April 25, 2022,

[xi] Goobjoog News, Twitter, April 25, 2022,

[xii] Hiiraan Online, “PM calls on African Union to secure poll venue ahead of speakership race,” April 26, 2022,

[xiii] Harun Maruf, Twitter, April 26, 2022,

[xiv] Abdullahi Mohamed Nur, Twitter, April 27, 2022,

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